The barber shop owner from upstate New York who contracted Covid-19 after giving haircuts in violation of the state lockdown angrily denied Governor Andrew Cuomo’s claim that he infected more than a dozen others.
Joseph LaLima Sr, 76, is the Kingston barber who was infected with the coronavirus after he kept working even though nonessential businesses are not permitted to operate statewide during the coronavirus pandemic.
Cuomo and the county did not name LaLima on Thursday.
‘Cuomo doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about. I’m PO’d about it,’ LaLima told DailyMail.com.
LaLima, who has owned and operated LaLima Barbershop in Kingston since 1968, said that he kept giving haircuts because the governor allowed New Yorkers to continue working from home.
It just so happens that LaLima’s shop is at the same address as his residence.
‘Cuomo doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about,’ LaLima said.
‘First he gives permission to work from home and then he puts this crap out that I infected people.’
‘I got infected,’ LaLima said.
LaLima said that before the lockdown went into effect he consulted with an attorney who gave him the go-ahead to keep operating his barber shop even though it’s a nonessential business.
‘They said, “Yes, it’s your home, I can work from home”,’ he said.
‘All of a sudden I’m a scapegoat for this Democratic piece of crap that we got as a governor.’
LaLima added: ‘If he’s saying I infected 14 people, he infected the whole goddamn state.’
He told DailyMail.com that he spent five days in the hospital with Covid-19 symptoms, particularly a fever and a cough.
When asked if he was worried about contracting coronavirus given his age and the risk that he could die, he said: ‘I’m a Vietnam veteran. I cut nothing but first responders’ hair, police department.’
LaLima said that despite violating the lockdown, the state authorities did not fine him.
He said that he does not plan to restart his business. After his Covid-19 diagnosis, LaLima said he will now be in quarantine for two weeks.
‘I’m gonna recuperate and I’m gonna reopen [afterward],’ he said.
Ulster County released a statement on Wednesday indicating that the infected barber worked at a shop on Broadway in the town of Kingston, about 20 miles north of Poughkeepsie.
The county health commissioner is advising anyone who received a haircut in a barber shop in Kingston in the past three weeks to get tested for the coronavirus.